NHRA’s – living legend and iconic entity — John Force — delivers again with dominating weekend performance….

John Force gathered in his first victory of the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season – but the 155th of his legendary career — while winning the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals at zMAX Dragway.

Mike Salinas (Top Fuel) and Steve Johnson (Pro Stock Motorcycle) all picked up wins at the sixth of 22 races during the 2022 NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series season.

John Force was on the mark in fuel Funny Car again while winning for the 155th time in his illustrious career.

Force qualified No. 1 with a track-record run of 3.850-seconds, set the track speed record with a blast of 335.07 mph in his 11,000-horsepower PEAK/BlueDEF Platinum Chevrolet Camaro SS during the first round of eliminations and then finished off the weekend with a run of 3.914 at 328.66 in the final round, knocking off Robert Hight, defending world champion Ron Capps and first-time finalist Mike McIntire Jr. Force, the 16-time Funny Car world champ, had the standout car all weekend, rolling to his second straight four-wide win in Charlotte and he also dedicated the win to his daughter, Adria, who is recovering from a medical issue.

“Things just seem to happen where you’re destined to win,” Force said. “It was amazing. On some days, magical things just happen. Things went right and we were able to win the race. It was like it was destiny and it was a great weekend for my team. To finally get a win this year gives me a lot of confidence.”

Hight finished as the runner-up as he advanced to his third final round of the 2022 season. He remained second in points behind leader Matt Hagan, while Force jumped to fourth.

One of the most noteworthy stories in FC class racing for sure was the first time appearance of Ron Capps’ new Toyota Supra bodied car. Capps went to the “final quad”.

In Top Fuel, Salinas earned his second victory this season and fifth in his career, going an impressive 3.708 at 330.47 in his 11,000-horsepower Pep Boys/Scrappers Racing dragster in a final round quad that also featured Cameron Ferre, Spencer Massey, and Josh Hart. On a wild day that included a number of upsets, Salinas was consistent throughout, running 3.765 and 3.708 to reach final round. He put together another solid run in the finals, joining Brittany Force as the only two-time winners in the class in 2022.

Sporting new sponsorship from Pep Boys – Mike Salinas was the Top Fuel class winner.

“We have a very, very consistent car,” Salinas said. “The consistency of the car, the crew, everybody on the team, it’s amazing. Rob Flynn is an amazing crew chief. All our runs (in eliminations) were in the 70s. We’ve worked so hard to get here. Most people don’t understand this stuff is hard, We’re racing the best guys in the world. But if you believe you belong here, do the right things to stay here, you’re going to be here, and you’re going to win.”

Cameron Ferre wheeled the Canadian-based Paton Racing / Fast Eddie Racewear team car to a highly impressive runner up finish! (More on that coming soon!)

Cameron Ferre finished as the runner-up, going 3.924 at 307.44 as he tried to pick up his first career win. Brittany Force maintained the points lead, while Salinas moved into second with the victory.

Steve Johnson took the event win in Pro Stock Motorcycle – to move into the overall points lead,

The Charlotte four-wide event continues to treat Johnson very well, as the Pro Stock Motorcycle veteran rode his way to a second straight win and a second consecutive victory at the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals. Johnson went 6.740 at 200.65 on his USA Electric Suzuki in the finals, easily distancing himself from Karen Stoffer, Eddie Krawiec and Joey Gladstone. It gives Johnson his 11th career victory and plenty of momentum after also winning last weekend in Houston. At zMAX Dragway, Johnson had the quickest bike of every session during eliminations, including an impressive run of 6.712 at 201.40 in the second round that set the track record. He also moved into the points lead with his second victory this season.

“These bikes, they’re so hard to ride perfectly,” Johnson said. “We made some good runs today, but it’s never going to be an easy day in this class. For us to win, it’s special and this track is always a special place. Anytime you can win and win a race at a Bruton Smith track, you’re killing it and doing a great job.”

Stoffer, who won the opener, in Gainesville finished as the runner-up with her run of 6.824 at 198.88 in the championship round quad. She now trails Johnson by six points.

Thorne in The Side!

Kris Thorne stayed perfect during the 2022 season in the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon, picking up his second straight victory to open the year with his win on Sunday at zMAX Dragway.

The event, which was powered by Precision Racing Suspension in Charlotte, was the second of 10 races during the 2022 FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon season.

Kris Thorne won for the 2nd time in a row to stay undefeated within in the NHRA’s 2022 FuelTech Pro Mod Series

It’s also the second win for Thorne, who knocked off Lyle Barnett, Rickie Smith, and Stan Shelton in the final quad as part of the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals in Charlotte. Thorne picked up the victory in his ProCharger-powered Camaro with a run of 5.795-seconds at 252.14 mph and Barnett finished as the runner-up. It continued an incredible start to 2022 for Thorne, who earned his first career victory in the class at the opener in Gainesville in March.

Louisiana’s Randal Andras won the season-opening event for the NHRA’s Top Fuel Harley division.

The defending series champion was dominate – taking the title from pole position after qualifying #1 at 6.291 secs.

He then recorded both low ET and top speed during eliminations while defeating John Toth and Bob Malloy — hitting a best of 6.239 secs and 226.13 mph.

In the final round he edged out Ti Tharpe in a close matchup – 6.244 secs 224.87 mph to 6.281 secs 224.40 – to earn his 8th career NHRA national event title.

Defending series champion Randal Andras won the 2022 season opening event for the Top Fuel Harley series.

A FSXX First!

Bill Skillman came from behind to take the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals victory, the first race where the Chevrolet COPO Camaros, Ford Cobra Jets and Dodge Challenger Drag Paks of the Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown class have competed in a four-wide format.

For the first time in class history – the FSXX eliminator was held in a 4-Wide format.

In the first round, No. 1 qualifier Geoff Turk and his Wild Turkey Engineering Dodge Drag Pak would go 7.792-seconds at 180.21 mph to win the quad while Skillman took his Ray Skillman Ford Cobra Jet to a 7.784 second pass to advance.

In the second round, Skillman would reach the finals off his 7.828-second run at 178.33 mph along with quad winner David Barton and his Saw Mill Auto COPO Camaro’s 7.864 at 176.56. On the other side of the ladder, Stephen Bell would come up with the win going 7.838-seconds at 175.78 mph in his Stanfield Racing Engines COPO Camaro along with Scott Libersher’s Mickey Thompson COPO Camaro’s 7.851 at 175.87.

Racing his Cobra Jet Mustang – Bill Skillman – was the FSXX eliminator winner.

In the finals, Skillman, surrounded by COPO Camaros, would leave the line last but would reach the line first with Barton slowing near the end of the run. Libersher found issues at about 100 feet and Bell was not able to keep up.

The ongoing battle between Chevrolet COPO Camaros, Ford Cobra Jets and Dodge Challenger Drag Paks will pick up the weekend of May 13-15 at Virginia Motorsports Park for the Virginia NHRA Nationals.

The Lucas Oil Lowdown
(Final Round Results)

Defending Lucas Oil World Champion Sean Bellemeur won in TAFC

TAD class racing produced a first time winner > Corey Michalek

Top Alcohol Dragster — Corey Michalek, 5.353, 265.64 def. Jasmine Salinas, 5.320, 275.39 and Megan Smith, 5.492, 259.16 and Taylor Vetter, 6.092, 197.08;

Top Alcohol Funny Car — Sean Bellemeur, Chevy Camaro, 5.475, 268.92 def. DJ Cox Jr., Camaro, 5.528, 266.11 and Matt Gill, Camaro, 5.507, 268.87 and Brian Hough, Camaro, 5.568, 263.62;

Competition Eliminator — Tom Ratliff, Dragster, 8.311, 158.06 def. Bill Skillman, Ford Mustang, 7.940, 176.30.

Super Stock — Joe Lisa, Chevy Camaro, 9.971, 132.95 def. Jeff Longhany, Pontiac Firebird, 9.867, 136.07.

Super Stock and Stock winners : Joe Lisa (top) and Daren Poole-Adams

Stock Eliminator — Daren Poole-Adams, Chevy Camaro, 9.749, 134.63 def. Jack Zimmerman, Dodge Challenger, 10.706, 117.78.

Super Comp — Michael Handras, Dragster, 8.909, 184.27 def. John Labbous Jr., Dragster, 8.892, 177.91.

Super Gas — Craig Porter, Ford Mustang, 9.894, 163.69 def. Rusty Cook, Chevy Corvette, 9.893, 164.45.

Craig Porter won in Super Gas 9.90 with his Ford Mustang.

Super Street — Jason Bator, Chevy Chevelle, 10.887, 141.85 def. Keith Mayers, Porsche, 10.879, 153.60.

Top Dragster presented by Vortech Superchargers — Scott Neal, Dragster, 7.164, 186.30 def. Zach Sackman, Dragster, 6.309, 217.04.

Jason Bator won for the first time in S/ST with his Chevy Chevelle.

Tom Ratliff won in Comp with his in-line Six powered dragster

The NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series, as well as the FuelTech NHRA Pro Mod Drag Racing Series presented by D-Wagon, also returns to action May 13-15 with the Virginia NHRA Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park.

Posted with files by NHRA Communications, Elon Werner & Bruce Biegler
Photos by Dave DeAngelis & Bruce Biegler

Link to the LMLCMedia event photo gallery from zMax: HERE